Posted on December 7, 2021
Carbon180 is helping pull CO2 from the sky
To avoid the worst impacts of climate change, we need to both rapidly reduce emissions and remove the carbon that has been accumulating in the atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution. But it doesn’t end there — we can use that carbon to enrich our lands, catalyze new industries, and foster prosperity for all.
A Suite of Solutions
Carbon removal is a suite of practices and technologies that pull carbon from the atmosphere. This includes land-based pathways, such as soil carbon sequestration, and tech-based pathways, such as DAC (or direct air capture). There are also hybrid solutions that draw on the carbon-removing potential of both land and technology, such as BECCS (or bioenergy with carbon capture and storage).
A variety of solutions means a variety of benefits. For example, CO2 sequestered in soils makes for healthier and more resilient farmland, increasing crop yields and reducing the need for fertilizer. Carbon removed with DAC machines can be transformed into carbontech products like fuels, chemicals, building materials, and even carpet.
Carbon Removal on the Rise
Since 2015, Carbon180 has been at the forefront of a rapidly evolving carbon removal landscape, advocating for a once obscure climate solution that is now considered a critical piece of climate action. In 2018, we moved our HQ from California’s East Bay to Washington, DC to dedicate our work to federal policy change. Today, we partner with policymakers, scientists, and businesses to develop and advocate for carbon removal legislation grounded in environmental justice and the latest science.
Federal funding for carbon removal has increased from a few million when we were founded six years ago to hundreds of millions today. These funds go towards research, demonstration, and deployment to scale the full suite of carbon removal solutions.
We’re in Business
Today, there are a number of companies both investing in carbon removal and working to develop these solutions. Stripe made its first carbon removal investment of $1 million in May 2020, and a year later committed $8 million to six carbon removal companies. In September 2020, Shopify announced their Sustainability Fund, investment portfolios in groundbreaking carbon removal efforts for the short and long term. Microsoft committed to becoming carbon negative by 2030 and, by 2050, remove all of their historical emissions since their founding in 1975. Part of their approach is using their platform to support policy initiatives that accelerate carbon removal and emissions reductions.
Alongside businesses investing in carbon removal, there are many new companies innovating across the spectrum of solutions. Climeworks and Heirloom are committed to evolving direct air capture for permanent, affordable removal. Climeworks just unveiled the world’s largest DAC facility in Iceland, while Heirloom is setting mineralization in motion to remove 1 billion tons of CO2 from the atmosphere by 2035. Mineralization has great potential in terms of scalability and cost-effectiveness — the CO2 that Heirloom extracts via DAC chemically reacts with naturally occurring material to create a mineral that permanently stores carbon.
A Carbon-Removing Future
Robust policies that support a full portfolio of carbon removal solutions are necessary to actualize our vision of an equitable and sustainable carbon-removing future. Climate change is here, and BIPOC, low-income, and other frontline communities are experiencing disproportionate impacts. As we scale carbon removal, it’s paramount that we equitably distribute benefits, engage with communities, and thoroughly analyze socioeconomic impacts. Carbon removal is a necessary component of climate action, but it’s critical that scaling these solutions is done right — dismantling instead of contributing to existing inequities.
The Carbon180 blog and Twitter post regular updates on all sorts of happenings in the carbon removal field. You can also check out our website to learn more about carbon removal and subscribe to our weekly and bimonthly newsletters.